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Design Research for Proactive Smart Home Solution through Architectural Passive Design and User-Centered Design Approaches 

This project is a smart home solution that integrates the application of proactive adaption, multimodal interaction and architectural passive design. Being powered by artificial intelligence, big data and multi-sensor information, the inclusive and accessible system, which has no cost of learning, facilitates users to complete tasks with the most convenience and minimum user input. Also, it enhances users’ physical and mental wellbeing with proactively provided services and advice with applicable customization and adequate utilization of existing built and natural environments.

Freelance Project
Aug - Sep 2020
Tools: Adobe XD, Photoshop, Illustrator, XMind, Miro
Keywords: Proactive Adaptation, Architectural Passive Design, Multimodal Interaction, Contextual Awareness, Big Data Analysis

China's Smart Home Market Scale & Forecast from 2017 to 2025


The Distribution of the Most Expected Application Fields of Artificial Intelligence in the Future


In October 2020, I released questionnaires among various communities to investigate their familiarity with and attitude to smart home. 82 valid results were received. Also, Interviews were conducted with volunteers to collect opinions. 

  • Complicated with many devices, and cost of learning is high, new user unfriendly

  • Not smart and useful enough to solve users’ pain points and save energy and money

  • Have accessibility issue

  • Not user-centered, users still need to do cumbersome actions

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  • Change from passive interaction to proactive interaction
    Be more inclusive and accessible

  • Integrate better with existing built and natural environment 

  • Reduce energy cost and promote sustainability

  • Serve more user-centered solutions and recommendations

  • Create unique customization scenarios 

  • Create a holistic IoT integrated with architectural passive design solutions

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Proactive Human-Machine Interaction

In contrast to passive human-machine interaction, proactive human-machine interaction is enabled by contextual awareness and proactive adaption, which are based on the integration of big data from the cloud and information gathered from multi-sensor technology on the smart devices. The interaction is started by the machine and proactively outputs the execution results or advice to the user.

  • Through contextual awareness and proactive adaption, the user’s intentions are predicted by the machine which further helps to complete tasks with minimal user input. e.g. The smart home system used user location tracking devices, to power off empty rooms and idle devices to save energy

  • Proactively advise and inform users to based on the analysis of the cloud and personal data. e.g. Health Management Advise, Emergency guide, Smart Home Device Recommendation & Installation Instruction

  • The accumulated user's data, activities, routines and scenarios will facilitate the smart home system to learn and to customize better

Proactive Multimodal Input/Output

Multimodal interaction is the fusion of multiple senses. Human-machine interaction is carried out through text, speech, vision, action, environment and other ways to fully simulate the interaction mode between people. Along with contextual awareness and proactive adpation system, The true multimodal interaction enables any output/input to be replaced by any other seamlessly and proactively.

  • Making no assumptions about the user’s ability to perceive or operate, the inclusive and accessible proactive multimodal interaction with will be much more effective and efficient and  facilitate the service and experience of AI-powered smart home system

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Architectural Passive Design Integration
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Architectural Passive Design is an approach that emerged to reduce the environmental impact by using any nonmechanical means for heating and cooling buildings.

  • Application of passive design will lead to the reduction of consumption of energy and environmental pollution, as well as the promotion of physical and mental wellbeing of user

  • At the initialization stage of smart home system, Lidar technology is used to scan and measure the architectural spaces to generate 3D model of the building. This will let the smart home system to have an idea what the building looks like. Thus, the system can integrate the architectural and climatic information of the site to analyze this building’s passive design potentials and then advise the user.

  • A holist IoT is integrated in the passive systems: shading device (natural light), ventilation device (fresh air), AC (temperature & humidity), moisturizer (humidity), artificial lights (lighting System compatible with third-party smart devices (conditional, without any business conflict)


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  • When needed, the smart home system implements this building's applicable architectural passive design solutions - generated from the analysis of the scanned building's 3D architectural data in the system and the climatic information from outdoor sensors.

  • During the night, the smart home system utilizes outdoor conditions, prior to mechanical appliances such as humidifier and AC, to adjust the indoor climate until it is optimal for sleep. 

  • In the chilly morning, the smart home system proactively opens the blinds to let sunlight into the room, lighting up and solar-heating the room to be warm and comfortable as well as saving energy.

  • The smart speaker gets alarm from the smartphone and rings. Jack cannot keep his eyes open to turn it off (temporary vision loss), so he speaks “turn off the alarm” to stop it.

  • Then the smart speaker starts using voice to report the time, the weather, the news, and the schedule. Considering that he just woke up and is a little muddled (temporary cognitive disorder), it purposely chooses a short, simple language to announce the information.

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  • When Jack gets up and enters the bathroom, the room sensors detect the movement and the system automatically switches from the smart speaker on the night table to the smart mirror and speaker in the bathroom.

  • Jack starts brushing his teeth with a smart electric toothbrush that is connected to the smart mirror, following the prompted 3D teeth-brushing guide on the smart mirror. Also, the system switches the interaction from the voice of the smart speaker to the display of the smart mirror (from auditory output to visual output), since the noise of the electric toothbrush is loud and Jack will not hear the voice of the smart speaker (temporary audition loss). This proactive multimodal interaction allows him to continue to gain information from different input/output mode.

  • Jack is right-handed so that only his non-dominant left hand can operate the smart mirror, which is not flexible (temporary physical disorder). However, He also cannot use voice to control while brushing teeth (temporary voice loss), so the system proactively adjusts the UI on the mirror - puts the information section on the right and the interactive section on the left, displays the enlarged texts and buttons - to accommodate him. 

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  • On a hot afternoon, Jack is on the way home from the gym after a 2-hour workout. According to Jack's heart rate and gesture detection transmitted from his smartwatch, the smart home system finds out Jack has worked out hard. Then, it tracks his location and journey with the smartwatch and smart car system and proactively switches on the AC and the beverage cooler before he comes back. It sets them at a lower temperature before Jack gets home so that when he arrives the room will come to that temperature, and he can enjoy the coolness without the wait. 

  • When Jack approaches, the smart lock recognizes that it is him alone through the monitor camera. Thus, it automatically opens up. The smart welcoming lights, which Jack purchased and installed according to the smart home system's recommendation and instruction, switches on as the door opened. The smart speaker also automatically plays music from Jack's favorite list.

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